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Old Jun 22, '09, 4:35 am
japhy japhy is offline
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Default Re: "Lord, I am not worthy to receive you..."

Originally Posted by DL82 View Post
This is a side to the Real Presence I hadn't really considered before. Any ideas why we say these words?
Here's my take on the response:
Enter Under My Roof
The old translation said “worthy to receive you,” but the new translation ["Lord, I am not worthy that you should enter under my roof, but only say the word and my soul shall be healed."] is more faithful to the Latin. It does not refer to the roof of our mouths; instead, it comes from the mouth of the centurion in the Gospel. To meaningfully pray this response, we must be familiar with its context:
As [Jesus] entered Caperna-um, a centurion came forward to him, begging him and saying, “Lord, my servant is lying paralyzed at home, in terrible distress.” And he said to him, “I will come and heal him.” But the centurion answered him, “Lord, I am not worthy to have you come under my roof; but only say the word, and my servant will be healed. For I am a man under authority, with soldiers under me; and I say to one, ‘Go,’ and he goes, and to another, ‘Come,’ and he comes, and to my slave, ‘Do this,’ and he does it.” When Jesus heard him, he marveled, and said to those who followed him, “Truly, I say to you, not even in Israel have I found such faith.” … And to the centurion Jesus said, “Go; let it be done for you as you have believed.” And the servant was healed at that very moment. (Matt. 8:5-10, 13)
The statement of the centurion was an expression of his great faith in the power that Jesus had. The centurion believed that Jesus did not need to travel and enter his house, but had the ability to cure his servant by simply willing it and saying it. To come under the roof means to enter the house, implying a familiar relationship. But even more important is that according to Jewish ritual law, entering the house of a Gentile would have made Jesus “impure.” (cf. Acts 10:28)

There is a great spiritual message here. God could have remedied our sorry, fallen state just by willing it, just by saying a word. But instead, He sent His Word to us, coming under our roof – taking on a body of flesh and our human condition – and suffering ridicule, persecution, and death on a cross. “For our sake he made him to be sin who knew no sin, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.” (2 Cor. 5:21)

So what roof do we mean? We are temples of the Holy Spirit, and our flesh is like the “roof” of this temple. We know we are unworthy to be such temples, where God is present spiritually; we are even less worthy to receive our Lord in the Blessed Sacrament. But here Christ does for us what he did not do for the centurion, not because our faith is any less (although oftentimes it is), but because “God had foreseen something better for us.” (Heb. 11:40) Jesus gladly comes to us in the Eucharist.
Praying the Mass: The Prayers of the People, pp. 131-132

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My second book: The Prayers of the Priest

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